Seafarers once again became victims of fraudulent crewing agency
In Nakhodka the frauds have raised their activities in the way of charging of seafarer employment fees. Therefore six seafarers became their victims.
According to the Public Relations Office of the Russian MIA Transport Administration in Far Eastern Federal District as quoted korabel.ru, the seafarers filed their complaints into the local line division of the transport police. The affected persons told that they had addressed in one of the local firms offering the crew employment services and then transferred large amounts to a banking account of its director-general. However none of them was hired.
In preliminary investigation the investigators of the Nakhodka Line Transport Division of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs found that a resident of Primorsky Krai, who was registered as a legal entity, had been offering the employment services for seafarers for RUB25,000 to RUB100,000 as a reward. The employment procedure was hold without service agreement signing. The victims gave to fraudulent agency around RUB250,000 in total.
“Unfortunately, such situations sometimes happen,” Nikolai Sukhanov, the chairman at the Far Eastern Regional Organization of Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO), comments. “Since paying to the fraudulent agencies, seafarers usually are waiting for decent-paid job during two months, but there are no vacancies. Other times seafarers transfer money for employment on the modern ship of their dream, but they appear on a rust bucket flying a flag of convenience. Consequently, all of them seek help and protection in the union or prosecutor's office. However it is impossible to help them – the seafarers put their own signatures under doubtful agreements, often they even do not look through them and pay money.”
How do steer clear from swindlers and don't get scammed? It should remember as a fundamental truth that the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) outlaws to demand from seafarers to cover employment service fees. Any offer of such help for monetary reward is a crime. Remember that the services of licensed crewing agency are paid by shipowner rather than a seafarer.
“The SUR's website has a list of licensed employment agencies,” the union points out. “Before starting to work with a company, you should be familiarized with the list or have consultations with the union in your region.”
Regarding the failed-businessman and seafarers in Nakhodka, who neglected all employment rules and recommendations, a criminal case has been launched yet into an offense under Part 2 Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code (Swindling).